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Overview

For over thirty years, we’ve lived through a radical redistribution of wealth—upward, to a tiny fraction of the population. It’s as though we’re undertaking a bizarre social experiment to see how much inequality a democratic society can tolerate. As a result “We are the 99%,” the rallying cry of the Occupy movement, has spread far beyond its ranks. But who are the 99 percent? Who are the 1 percent? How extensive and systematic is inequality throughout society? What are its true causes and consequences? How is inequality changing in our world? And what can be done about it? For many years Chuck Collins has been a leading voice and activist on these questions. In this book he marshals wide-ranging data from a variety of sources to paint a graphic picture of how disparities in wealth and power play out in America and the world. For the first time, this book reveals the concrete meaning of “the 99% and the 1%,” looking not just at individual households but at the business world, the media, and the earth as a whole. Collins identifies the shifts in social values, political power, and economic policy that have led to our current era of extreme inequality—particularly the way Wall Street has managed to rig the rules of the game in favor of the 1perecent—and surveys the havoc inequality has wreaked on virtually every aspect of society. But there is hope. Not only does he offer common-sense proposals for closing the inequality gap, but Collins provides a guide to many of the groups—including some made up of millionaires—that are working to bring about a society that works for everybody: for the 100 percent. This is a struggle that can be won. After all, the odds are 99 to 1 in our favor. “Chuck Collins succinctly sums up the history of how we got to the 99-versus-1 divide and provides sound solutions to restore the American Dream. Not only can these solutions bridge the wealth gap—they can also heal some of our nation’s deepest wounds.” —Van Jones, President, Rebuild the Dream, and author of The Green Collar Economy

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